An employment tribunal at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne has found that Asda illegally offered an inducement to 340 trade union members, to give up the collective agreement negotiated by the GMB union.
The offer that Asda made was found to be in breach of Section 145B of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Consolidation Act 1992. The supermarket has been directed to pay a fixed sum of £2,500 to each of the GMB’s members involved, which amounts to around £850,000.
Paul Kenny, acting general secretary of the GMB said: “Last year Asda offered GMB members in Washington a pay rise of 10 per cent if they would give up their membership, our members rejected this. Asda have been found guilty of trying to bribe their way to a union free company. They have been directed to pay £850,000 and the Asda management need to take a clear message from this. The GMB is not going away and the Union will fight on every front to protect our members’ rights.”
In response, a spokesperson for Asda said: “We’re disappointed with the decision.”
Asda said: “We purchased the depot a number of years ago and protected colleagues existing terms and conditions. After many requests for those terms and conditions to be brought into line with the Asda-owned and operated depot close-by, we simply gave colleagues the opportunity to let us know at this depot, via a ballot, whether they supported a move to improved terms similar to those in place across the road.
“It was only after listening very carefully to our own people and the GMB about what they wanted that this consultative ballot ever took place. This was absolutely not about the removal of collective bargaining – it was simply a way of consulting our people as to whether they wanted to move into line with the employment terms at the Asda depot next door.”
Asda says that it is currently reviewing the 88 page document and is deciding whether or not to appeal against the Tribunal’s decision.